May 15th 2020 Mai 15fed

Dear Parents and Carers,

One thing that is very clear from our recent experiences, is that the ICT skills of our pupils, parents and staff have been very much tested over the last few weeks. Speaking personally, I’ve learned so much about online platforms, video conferencing and collaborative networking, so I can strongly argue that many of us have been taken out of our comfort zone and despite the circumstances, sometimes that’s not a bad thing. We held a Governors’ meeting this week, via Microsoft Teams online and it was great to be able to discuss the many ongoing issues that schools face at this current time with them all. Another new experience!

I’m extremely indebted to the school staff for their efforts over the last few weeks. I have asked much of them, as they’ve developed their skills in using Google Classroom from a standing start and have successfully managed to engage so many of our pupils through this platform and despite the unconventional nature of its introduction, it has been brilliant professional development for them. Google Classroom will also be a fabulous teaching tool when we return to school, with staff and pupils having had a significant amount of experience using it. One thing this crisis will have done, is develop digital competency skills all round!

I’m sure you’ll appreciate, it will not have been easy for school staff, as they’ve been encountering many of the problems you will have experienced at home. Many of our staff have children of their own and have had to juggle their home learning, as well as that of their own pupils’, while sharing temperamental equipment and juggling responsibilities with partners who are also working from home in their own professions. Everybody has pulled together in such a positive way. On top of this, we’ve had a number of our staff volunteering in the Ruthin Hub, providing vital childcare to pupils of Key Workers in tandem with staff from other schools. Their valuable contributions are very much appreciated.

There’s been an increasing amount of talk in the media about schools reopening and sadly it’s now becoming more and more of a political football to be kicked about, despite the fact that strictly speaking, Rhos Street like many of our schools, hasn’t even closed due to its repurposing as a childcare hub. The debate of course, centres around the return of mainstream pupils and I wish more than anything, that there was a switch we could flip and return to normal. For those of us in good health, we can embrace returning with more confidence, knowing that the virus should not affect us adversely, were we to contract it. However, we must think beyond ourselves and consider carefully and plan meticulously for only opening our doors if we feel that the most vulnerable, most at risk person in the school community would be totally safe if we did. I look forward to seeing the proposals and guidance from Welsh Government, which I believe are imminent and I’m sure everybody will work together on a realistic timeline, to see a safe return to school for some of our pupils, their families and my staff, whenever that may be.

Once again, may I remind you all that we are here to support in any way we can. If you’re struggling, please reach out. If you need advice, please get in touch. Please continue to look after yourselves and say a hello from me to your children please. I speak for all of my staff in saying that we’re missing them very much.

I’m hopeful we’re seeing some light at the end of the tunnel now, so please; stay safe, stay at home, stay strong and dare I say it, stay alert!!

Yours sincerely / Yn gywir,

Bryn D. Jones, Headteacher / Pennaeth